Wednesday, March 23, 2016


The first time we fought, you and I,
I had promised you breakfast at Sharma's
And you'd promised to sing to me,
But I woke up at noon hungover and you 
Wouldn't grant me drunken immunity,
And I accused you of irrationality
But you accused me of betrayal,
And my crime was greater, indisputably,
And for half a day afterwards,
You held my heart in your hands
And squeezed it so I couldn't breathe,
And now that you've at last let go,
It hurts that never again will I
Hurt because you fought with me.

Sunday, March 13, 2016


For a few white moments this afternoon
on a bench sweating rain

palms cupped around hot styrofoam
brown liquid burnt brown hair on tongue
steam joined hands with smoke
ash dissolved into asphalt

a vein thawed
an artery melted

and for a few light moments
I was whole

Saturday, March 12, 2016


Most plants last a week or two
on my once-barren windowsill,
until I neglect to water them --
(boredom / apathy, who can tell? 
or the fact that they aren't 
jasmines) -- but these
jasmines have survived months and I
have kept nigh light and rain
(on impulse / instinct, or from need? --
I don't know which).

Fifteen months, and finally
light is less wanton with its ministrations --
(less wanton / less generous, 
what's the difference?) -- 
on a fortunate day, a ray or two 
might leak down the sky's edges
into my jasmines' 
open palms,
slowly (surely) dying.

I'll air the curtains
and fluff the pillows tomorrow,
and, perhaps, allow
sweat (and blood?)
to unclog the pores
of my limbs and lungs
and wash away 
the perfumes of
faint, lingering jasmines.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


It took years for my shell to grow.
A million skin cells bled, and dried,
then decayed to dust - like men at war -
and fossilized over millennia into
scales of tempered steel.

I must have defied countless sieges - 
that coat of mail and dermis had
endured wound and rust - but you,
you chipped, pried and plucked away
one loose scale at a time.

I've no more skin cells left to bleed.
The marauding's done. Move on to your
next plunder while I vainly scoop
my armor -- water in your wake --
together into ice.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Attar of rose

I knew not quite what I sought at
A winter bazaar in old Calcutta --
Terracotta, conch shell, a silken mat --
When I chanced upon the finest attar
Of rose in a crystal vial. A whiff
More giddying than opium milk; a sniff
And cities fell and crashed and burned.
Intoxicated, I returned
Infinitely to a joy olfactory,
Until at last the vial was spent!
I've plundered fen and glen; that scent
Eludes me in all but memory.
Had I perhaps been more restrained,
A vapor might have yet remained.

Saturday, May 2, 2015


Your form is clearer than water when
I close my eyes - dots, spots, crinkles, 
and all your smiles - despite the distance 
of a thousand miles, 
but the distance of a thousand years
will snatch every day one tiny detail - 
toe, smudge, fingerprint, white spot on a nail.

Had I been blind when I found you, 
and let my palms eternalize your pulse,
your breath, the warmth around you, the
contours of your kneecaps - 
these sensations and not those sights - 
you might have lingered endless eternities, and
I'd last a thousand fights.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Nights in March

On nights like this the roads and streets
Are wet with rain and taut with breeze,
But this - my king-sized bed -
Is bare and still and dry as husk,
Yearning for the warmth and musk
Of your breast instead.

Monday, July 9, 2012


In Varanasi, where temples
outnumber the temple-goers,
we sought to sully
the waters of a tired river
that exhaled the stink
of past pilgrims
with the stale mud of our
infrequent sins,
amassed over thoughtless

We believed the whores,
thieves, homosexuals,
who attested the chants
of widows and priests
and plunged ourselves
into a river whose waters,
balm and sulfur
for soul and skin,
we were careful not to

Is it strange that I
perspired in the water -
dreading the ablution
would purge my conscience
and strip me of
the redolent muck
I'd thoughtlessly amassed
over infrequent moments
when I had truly

Thursday, February 16, 2012


There was a time you were flesh
and I was skin -
If you were cold I trembled,
when you hurt, I bled,
and when you burnt, I scarred.

But now that you tire of me,
you cast me off -
Plucking me away with nails,
as if I were nothing more
than flake and crust.

I'd got old and wrinkled in the meantime.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Least You Can Do Is Pretend

If I die today,
then tomorrow, will you miss me,
or will you waste hours minutes days,
laughing in hyphens,
weeping at trifles,
before you notice my absence
and realize it is time
to laugh, or weep, once again?